Mum makes miraculous recovery after dangerous birth left her needing 44 pints of blood in UK’s biggest ever transfusion
A brave mum and her baby boy have made a miraculous recovery after she lost a staggering 44 PINTS of blood during the traumatic labour – meaning she needed what is believed to be the UK’s biggest ever blood transfusion.
Natasha Pollock, 34, had an emergency caesarean section eight weeks early after a difficult pregnancy riddled with complications.
And she bled so much that medics were forced to pump her with an astonishing 39 pints of blood in a single nine-hour operation – before the hospital ran out of supplies.
It was the next day before they were able to ship in more blood supplies – where Natasha received a further five pints of blood to keep her alive – making a staggering 44 pints.
And despite doctors telling her husband, Dai, 38, that she was unlikely to survive Natasha and baby Oliver both pulled through – and 12 weeks on are both finally back home in Stratford-Upon-Avon, Warks.
Although the NHS Blood and Transplant service does not keep official records of blood transfusion numbers, Natasha claims doctors told her they had never heard of anyone receiving as much blood as she had.
Natasha, who runs a guest house, said: “I am so lucky to be here – if it wasn’t for blood donors my children would be growing up without a mum.
“The doctors said they’ve never seen a transfusion as big as mine, and they think it was the most blood anyone has ever received and survived in the UK.
“My uterus had so many holes in it that it looked like a colendar.
“But now we’re all together for the first time as a family, and our two other children love their new baby brother.”
During her pregnancy mum-of-three Natasha had been diagnosed with grade four placenta previa, meaning her placenta was blocking a natural birth.
She was hospitalised when she discovered spotting towards the end of her pregnancy – but after a heavy bleed, doctors at Worcester Royal Hospital decided to deliver the baby early.
On the operating table surgeons discovered Natasha had developed a rare condition, causing her placenta to burst through the uterine wall and latch onto her bladder, meaning she was losing dangerous amounts of blood.
During her harrowing nine-hour surgery doctors tried desperately to stem the bleeding, pumping her with an astonishing 39 pints of blood – before they ran out of blood.
Natasha was on the brink of death, and doctors told devastated Dai that she was unlikely to make it through the traumatic surgery.
The next day, after shipping in additional supplies of blood, Natasha was given an extra five pints – a staggering 44 transfusions in total – and setting what’s believed to be the record for the most blood transfusions in a single procedure.
Just 12 weeks on Natasha is back at home with her miracle baby boy Oliver, who was just 4lb 110z when he was born two months premature, and on the road to recovery.
Natasha, said: “My consultant had phoned a bladder surgeon colleague who rushed in to help – he was able to patch it up, saving me from having a catheter for the rest of my life.
“I also had to have a hysterectomy – my uterus was destroyed, there were so many holes it looked like a colander. It was irreparable.
“After surgery I went into intensive care – I was in surgery for nine hour.
On top of her placenta problems, Natasha deteriorated so much that she developed a life-threatening condition which stopped her blood from clotting properly.
As well as 39 transfusions, which wiped out the hospital’s blood supplies, Natasha also had blood pumped back into her through a Cell Saver machine which recycled some of the blood she was losing.
After being told Natasha was going into surgery worried husband Dai left the couple’s children Eddie, five, and Bethany, four, with Natasha’s brother as he rushed to be by her side.
Dai, a gas engineer, said: “It was horrendous – I was waiting outside just sitting down and pacing up and down, waiting to be told what was going on.
Natasha added: “I’m just so incredibly grateful to people that take the time to give blood – it’s life-saving.
“I’ll be making sure the kids donate too when they’re old enough.
“If it wasn’t for blood donors, I wouldn’t be here now – and my kids would be growing up without their mum.”
Natasha said: “I would really encourage everyone to donate and bank their blood – it’s not a bottomless pit, and you never know when you might need it. It’s so quick and easy to do.”
A spokesperson from NHS Blood and Transplant said: “Blood and platelets regularly save the lives of people like Natasha who have traumatic injuries, cancer, or life threatening complications in childbirth.”
To find out how to become a blood or platelet donor, call 0300 123 23 23 or visit www.blood.co.uk.